Translation Fellows

Each year, the Yiddish Book Center Translation Fellowship selects a group of emerging translators who are versed in Yiddish language and culture.

2024 Translation Fellows:

Corbin Allardice is a translator, poet, and performer pursuing a PhD in Yiddish literature at Johns Hopkins University. Together with Jay Saper, Corbin is a 2024 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant recipient for Partizanke: Poems from the Jewish Resistance by Rikle Glezer, first developed in the 2021–2022 Yiddish Book Center Translation Fellowship. They are proud to be a founding member of GLYK: a collective for queer Yiddish theatre. For the 2024–2025 Fellowship, Corbin will be translating a selection of poems by the underappreciated Yiddish modernist N. B. (Nahum Baruch) Minkoff. Minkoff was a founding member and chief theorist of In Zikh (Introspectivism), the most-developed American (if not global) movement of Yiddish literary modernism, but his work has heretofore received little scholarly or public attention. This will, mirtseshem, be rectified with the Yiddish Book Center’s support.

Yael Chaver, PhD, is a scholar and educator in Yiddish and Hebrew language, literature and culture (B.A., Hebrew University, Jerusalem; MA, PhD, University of California, Berkeley). She is a retired lecturer in Yiddish from the University of California, Berkeley, and continues to lead Yiddish literature classes in the community. She is the author of What Must Be Forgotten: The Survival of Yiddish in Zionist Palestine (Syracuse University Press, 2004) and its Hebrew translation (Yad Ben Zvi, 2005), as well as numerous academic articles. Since 2020, she has been providing translation services for the Yizkor book translation project of JewishGen for the Museum of Jewish Heritage, New York. Together with Shachar Pinsker, Yael will translate Yitzchok Perlov’s Dzshebeliya (1955). It is a novel about three generations of a family in the years following the Holocaust and their attempts to rebuild lives in Palestine/Israel after the 1948 War, during the time of mass immigration from Eastern Europe and from Arab countries.

Deborah Feder With an academic background in languages, linguistics and literature, Deborah became immersed in Yiddish study during the pandemic shutdown. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she works as an attorney, editor and writing coach when not hiking or skiing with her family and dogs. With this, her first Yiddish translation project, she hopes to introduce English-speaking readers to the powerful writing of a masterful mid-twentieth-century Yiddish author. Deobrah will be translating Vintn, a loosely autobiographical novel by Manger Prize winner Menukhe Ram, about Jewish deportees in Siberia during World War II. Vintn depicts, in vivid prose and colorful detail and from a uniquely female perspective, the stark day-to-day life of uprooted women, children, and elderly shtetl Jews and the Russian peasants with whom they find themselves coexisting.

LeiAnna X. Hamel is a PhD candidate in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures with a graduate certificate in Jewish culture and society at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her research focuses on gender and sexuality in Yiddish and Russophone cultures of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. She will be translating a selection of poetry by the Soviet Yiddish writer and scientist Shifre Kholodenko (1909-1974), including poems about Arctic expeditions, the Holocaust in Soviet lands, and the space race.

Yankl (Jake) Krakovsky is a theater-maker, educator, and Yiddishist from Atlanta, GA. They have been working professionally for over a decade as an actor, puppeteer, writer, director, dramaturg, teaching artist, and clown. As a writer-performer, Yankl has received residencies from the Tony award-winning Alliance Theatre in Atlanta as well as the Collaborative Arts Lab in Arezzo, Italy. He is the director of the 2021 Yiddish/English puppet film Labzik: Tales of a Clever Pup, and a current Field Fellow with the Yiddish Book Center's Wexler Oral History Project. Yankl will translate twenty short stories from Yankev Kreplyak's Yungvarg, all which reflect Kreplyak’s origins as a revolutionary labor activist in his native Poland. They hope to adapt the very best stories of this collection and share for the first time in English Kreplyak's revolutionary young adult literature.

Benjamin Lerman started studying Yiddish as a seven-year-old using records borrowed from the Detroit Public Library in an unsuccessful attempt to crack his parents’ secret code. Further efforts would be much postponed. In the interim he became a physician and spent many midnights in the overly bright hallways of an Oakland emergency room, caring for the sick and the lonely, and training younger doctors to take his place someday. He also earned an MFA in creative writing, got married, and with his partner has raised two cats and two kids. One of those kids inspired him to spend seven years machining a working miniature steam locomotive. He has told a lot of stories, occasionally from a stage or podcast.

When he finally was able to resume the cryptology project, he discovered that there were much more interesting reasons to learn Yiddish. He is translating Itzik Manger’s Noente geshtaltn (Intimate Portraits), a collection of short stories in which Manger gave his imagination free rein to create lively, colorful depictions of some twenty figures from Yiddish cultural history. These go back as far as Gele, a 17th century Amsterdam girl whose own poem appeared in one of the books which she helped her father typeset and continue right up to a sweatshop poet in 20th century America.

Zeke Levine is a PhD candidate in historical musicology at New York University, where his research centers on Yiddish language folk songs in twentieth century America. He is also a musician and songwriter, performing in both Yiddish and English across a variety of genres. Zeke is active as a translator from Yiddish. As a 2019–2020 Yiddish Book Center translation fellow, Zeke translated a collection of stories from the radical humorist Sam Liptzin, which was published by Farlag Press in 2023. For the 2024– 2025 Fellowship, he is translating Ties That Bind (My Grandfather to My Father and to Me) by Miriam Fireman-Levin, published in 1972. Fireman-Levin was a noted journalist, short story writer, poet, and songwriter active in the American left-wing literary scene from the 1930s through the 1970s.

Shachar Pinsker is a professor of Judaic studies and Middle East studies at the University of Michigan. Pinsker is a scholar of multilingual Jewish literature and culture. He is the author of two award-winning books: Literary Passports: The Making of Modernist Hebrew Fiction in Europe (Stanford University Press, 2011), and A Rich Brew: How Cafés Created Modern Jewish Culture (NYU Press, 2018). He is the editor and coeditor of Hebrew, Gender, and Modernity (University of Maryland Press, 2007), Women’s Hebrew Poetry on American Shores (Wayne State University Press, 2016), and Where the Sky and the Sea Meet: Israeli Yiddish Stories (Magnes Press, 2023). In 2023–2024, he was a fellow at the New York Public Library, where he worked on a book project on Yiddish in Israeli literature and codirected the NEH-supported research project The Feuilleton, the Public Sphere, and Modern Jewish Cultures. He and Yael Chaver will cotranslate Yitzchok Perlov’s Dzshebeliya (1955). It is a novel about three generations of a family in the years following the Holocaust, and their attempts to rebuild lives in Palestine/Israel after the 1948 War, during the time of mass immigration from Eastern Europe and from Arab countries.

Hannah Pollin-Galay is senior lecturer (assistant professor) in the department of literature at Tel Aviv University, where she is also head of the Jona Goldrich Institute for Yiddish Language, Literature and Culture. In that role, she directs projects such as the international Yiddish summer program and Iberzets, an online journal for Yiddish-Hebrew literary translation. Pollin-Galay researches and teaches primarily in the fields of Yiddish literature and Holocaust studies, and has recently begun to foray into the field of ecocriticism. Her first book, Ecologies of Witnessing: Language, Place and Holocaust Testimony, came out with Yale University Press in 2018 and her second, Occupied Words: What the Holocaust Did to Yiddish (U Penn Press, 2024), asks how the Holocaust changed the Yiddish language. She is currently working on a project exploring the fraught connections between Jews and nature, across time and space. Pollin-Galay is also translating a series of Yiddish poems by Chava Rosenfarb, which tie together the topics of nature, the Holocaust, and the Yiddish language.

Saul Noam Zaritt is associate professor of Yiddish literature at Harvard University. He is a founding editor of In geveb, a journal of Yiddish studies, and recently launched, a database of popular Yiddish fiction. He is the author of Jewish American Writing and World Literature: Maybe to Millions, Maybe to Nobody (Oxford University Press, 2020) and A Taytsh Manifesto: Yiddish, Translation, and the Making of Modern Jewish Culture (Fordham University Press, forthcoming in October 2024). Saul is translating Sarah B. Smith’s Zukhndik glik (Looking for Happiness), a novel about a young woman’s struggle to find love and creative outlet as an immigrant, a mother, and vaudeville lyricist in 1920s New York.

"What can I say? I felt encouraged, spurred on, supported and part of a community of wonderful, brilliant people."
A former translation fellow